Fashion Students Earn Top Honors From Gucci, AATCC and Dior

Sophomore Destinee Elliott named a Gucci North America Changemakers Scholar.
Photo of Destinee Elliott
Fashion merchandising and management student Destinee Elliott will receive an academic scholarship, as well as mentorship and internship opportunities through Gucci America.

Jefferson fashion merchandising and management (FMM) students and recent grads have earned top industry awards from Gucci, the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) and Dior.

FMM sophomore Destinee Elliott was named one of the inaugural Gucci North America Changemakers Scholars. The social impact initiative focuses on increasing inclusion and diversity within the fashion industry and across communities.

Elliott thanked her professors for helping her to achieve this honor, saying she learned so much during her first year at Jefferson about fashion’s influence and impact.

“I hope to work in a position where I can use fashion as a way to encourage diversity and inclusiveness, an important concept that’s not always present in the industry,” she says. “Positive representation—whether in the media or the classroom—is so valuable, and I want to ensure there’s a future where all voices can be heard and all types of people can be celebrated.”

I hope to work in a position where I can use fashion as a way to encourage diversity and inclusiveness, an important concept that’s not always present in the industry. —Destinee Elliott

One of 20 recipients from schools across the country, Elliott will receive an academic scholarship for up to $20,000, as well as mentorship and virtual internship opportunities through Gucci America.

“As education is vital to implementing real change and ensuring diverse voices are in positions of power, it is more important than ever to foster the next generation of talent,” says Antoine Phillips, Gucci’s VP of brand and culture engagement.

Elliott will especially benefit from the mentoring by Gucci executives, says FMM program director Nioka Wyatt.

“She will be able to build her knowledge, network with other students and examine the supply chain at a major luxury company,” Wyatt says. “That’s beyond incredible and a big win for Destinee and Jefferson.”

Photo of Brianna Giarraputo in cap and gown
Recent grad Brianna Giarraputo won second place for her Kind Fashion line. She's now pursuing her iMBA.

Along with the distinction from Gucci, FMM students won second and third place in the AATCC Concept 2 Consumer Student Merchandising Competition. Industry experts tasked the students to create a timeless line of workwear for a specific target market and judged them on their merchandising plan, visual strategy, costing, test methods and marketing plan.

Recent grad Brianna Giarraputo earned second place and the $850 prize for Kind Fashion, a clothing line that complements the modern woman’s body and spirit.

“I think now, more than usual, a message of empowerment and kindness is needed,” she says.

The project’s emphasis on sustainability and female empowerment stemmed from a project she did in a prototyping class, and she used skills learned from courses in CAD, design concepts, managerial accounting, global fashion insight and competitive technology.

A message of empowerment and kindness is needed.
—Brianna Giarraputo

“It was so rewarding to watch all these learning experiences come together in one project,” says Giarraputo, who’s now pursuing her iMBA at Jefferson. “I love meshing together my love for fashion and business, and this allowed me to do just that.”

The University team of Leah Borelli, Galilea Montero, Mackenzie Price and Alexandra Savino won third place and $300 for an adaptive line of products for women called All in Apparel.

Wyatt commended all the students for their resiliency and flexibility while working on the competition during the pandemic.

“The AATCC project requires a high level of communication and iteration,” she says. “The smallest tweak can have a profound effect on your presentation. Moving swiftly to a remote working environment created additional challenges, but the winners and other teams remained focused and dedicated throughout the process.”

Rounding out the recent FMM recognitions, senior Quatia Powell has been named a mentee for the Women@Dior program. Selected from the world’s top business, engineering, art and fashion schools, the mentees are guided by their Dior mentors as they take their first steps in their careers and build their professional experience and networks.

“Being chosen to be a part of Women@Dior is such an honor,” Powell says. “I was selected to push my true self and capabilities while learning the importance of women empowerment, creativity and sustainability in the fashion industry. I’m thankful to Dior, and I’m super excited to see what’s to come in the future.”

Headshot of Quatia Powell
Senior Quatia Powell has been named a mentee for the Women@Dior program.
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